Wednesday, 20 February 2013



how they are assembled
how it is produced


Perfect binding is not a stitch binding at all, but a solely adhesive based binding. It is the easiest and least durable way to produce books, and is how most paperback books are bound. Single leaves are jogged to form a straight block, and the spine edge is glued with PVA, or rarely, some other bookbinding glue.

Gluing is done with a stiff brush, and is done with a jabbing or light stabbing motion more than a painting one.

The text block is held in place by a screw press, or just something heavy, like a couple of bricks for a small book. About an inch on the spine side is left hanging over the table in the case of the bricks, and the glue is brushed onto the spine in layers. Press down on the inch over the table to slant that part of the text block and paint glue over the spine again, so that the glue will get into the little spaces between the very edge of the pages. Then, holding the text block, slant the spine pages upward. Without the screw press, these two steps could get all of your pages scattered on the floor if you are not careful. Finally, letting the text block return to its unslanted state, paint glue on again.

You will need to press the glued pages together at this point and reinforce with a piece of mull that is the same height as the book; otherwise, you will find that the glue will separate the pages sufficiently where you may end up with two or three books instead of one. If you have a screw press, drop the book into the press so that the spine takes pressure and let the glue set in this manner. Protect your book and press with some waxed paper, being careful not to adhere the wax paper to the spine. If you don't have a screw press, take some boards (binder's board, wooden boards) and use these to protect and distribute the weight of the pressure you apply, whether it be in the press or with bricks.

After this dries, the cover is generally glued to the spine to complete the book. Be aware that if you reinforce with mull and intend to glue the book into an existing cover, you will have space issues. If you are making the cover to fit afterwards, there will be no such difficulty.

Perfect bound is a tidy way of assembling a book in a professional manner, this is something I want to try and do in this project by giving myself enough time to do the process.  In the industry a machine would produce these to save time, however if i were to pursue this I'd have to book a book binding session to be able to know exactly what to do.  I think this is a method that would need to be planned carefully time wise.  It is done by gluing the spine edge with PVA.  In terms of durability I think its definitely something made to last.


Traditional Chinese bookbinding refers to the method of bookbinding that the Chinese (as well as Koreans and Japanese) have used before converting to the modern codex form.
It is also called stitched binding. For more details on earlier types of Chinese bindings, see Woodblock printing.
The paper used as the leaves are usually xuan papeR. This is an absorbent paper used in traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting. Stronger and better quality papers may be used for detailed works that involve multicoloured woodblock printing. The covers tend to be a stronger type of paper, dyed dark blue. Yellow silk can be used, which is more predominant in imperially commissioned works. The cover is then backed by normal xuan paper to give it more strength. Hardcovers are rare and only used in very important books; The silk cord is almost always white. The case for the books are usually made of wood or bookboard, covered with cloth or silk and the inside is covered in paper.
The method of this binding is in several stages:
  • The first stage is to fold the printed paper sheets. The printing method was to print on a large sheet, then fold it in half so the text appears on both sides.
  • The second stage is to gather all the folded leaves into order and assemble the back and front covers. Important or luxury edition books have a further single leaf inserted in the fold of the leaves. Front covers tend to be replaced over time if it gets damaged. For very old books, the front cover is usually not original; for facsimiles, it is most certainly not.
  • The third stage is to punch holes at the spine edge, around 1 cm from the spine. Four holes are the standard. In China, six holes may be used on important books. If the book is a quality edition, the edges of the spine side are wrapped in silk which is stuck on to protect the edges. In Korea, an odd number of holes is normally used, typically three or five.
  • The fourth stage is to stitch the whole book together using a thin double silk cord. The knot is tied and concealed in the spine.

After a group of books are printed, they are often put in a case. This is a cloth case that is constructed from boards that have a cloth upholstering. Traditional cloth cases are a single line of boards attached together and covered by the cloth; the insides are papered. The pile of books are placed in the middle board, and the left-hand boards wrap the left side and the front of the books, and the right boards wrap the right side and on top of the left side boards. The right side front board has the title tag pasted on the top right-hand side. The rightmost edge has a lip, from which two straps with ivory or bone tallies are connected to. These straps are pulled down the left side, where there are the loops where they are inserted to secure the whole case together.
Modern cases are much like Western ones. They are basically cuboid with an opening in one side where the books slot in. The Chinese have a separate board to wrap the books before inserting into the case.

Japanese stab stitch is a method I tried in the previous module.  I found it a useful technique because it was easy to pick up.  It doesn't look as professional as perfect bound, there is definitely a hand made craft feel to it.  In terms of durability I think it holds the pages together quite well but could be quite easily susceptible to some damage as its held together wit thread or string.  In the industry this is something that is done by hand, the same as I would have to do in a studio environment.  As I have done this technique before it would be the easiest option and the least time consuming due to prior experience.


Coptic binding or Coptic sewing comprises methods of bookbinding employed by early Christians in Egypt, the Copts, and used from as early as the 2nd century AD to the 11th century. The term is also used to describe modern bindings sewn in the same style.
Coptic bindings, the first true codices, are characterized by one or more sections of parchment, papyrus, or paper sewn through their folds, and (if more than one section) attached to each other with chain stitch linkings across the spine, rather than to the thongs or cords running across the spine that characterise European bindings from the 8th century onwards. In practice, the phrase "Coptic binding" usually refers to multi-section bindings, while single-section Coptic codices are often referred to as "Nag Hammadi bindings," after the 13 codices found in 1945 which exemplify the form.
This is something I'm interested in that I haven't tried before, in some ways it looks similar to the Japanese stab stitch.  This looks very hand crafted as well.  I think it'll be stronger in terms of durability in comparison to the Japanese stab stitch, probably because most examples I've seen are encased in a hard cover.  This is something that is hand crafted in the industry and that I would have to put time aside to pick up the techniques in order for it to be a success.


Method: Creates a book by placing a strip, with one side adhesive, onto the spine and over the cover. Then the book is inserted spine side into a machine to heat the adhesive and add pressure to seal the edges.  
Common uses
: notebooks, notepads, office documents, manuals 
: Sturdy spine, very similar to perfect binding.
Cons: Exposed binding – can easily pick at the strip; getting text or graphics on the spine will be a custom job. 
This seems fairly durable as it has a sturdy bind, its done by placing an adhesive strip and placed into a machine to heat the adhesive adding pressure to seal it.  This is something I would like to try as I think the end product looks quite professional, however for this specific brief, with what I have in mind, I would choose another binding method.

Saddle-stitching or saddle stapling or "bookletmaking" is common for small booklets, calendars, pocket-size address books, reports, and some magazines. Several sheets of paper are folded (the fold becomes the spine of the booklet) and the booklet is either stitched along the fold (with what is basically an industrial sewing maching) or two or more staples are placed in the fold. For do-it-yourself saddle-stitching you can purchase long, adjustable staplers to reach the fold.
When the document is too large for saddle-stitching it may be side-stitched or side stapled. The staples are placed about 1/4" or so from the edge. A cover may be glued on. Side-stitched books can't be opened flat and extra allowance is needed in the inner margin.
This is something I think would fit best for my idea for this project, this is the most suited to the publication I had in mind.  It seems quite durable, not as much as perfect bound, but more so than Japanese Stab stitch, just because the stitching looks closer and tighter.  In the industry an industrial type sewing machine would be used to create this type of binding, however, I will have to attend a book binding session in order to pick up the technique.

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